| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 20 - Page 50 of 195 Index | Zoom | |
word kerux, thus showing the lateness of the book; but again the monuments by their
silent witness have since shown it to be a proper Semitic title.
The testimony of language.
We now turn from these vain and refuted criticisms to the testimony of the book itself,
and the first feature we deal with is its language. Most students are aware of the
peculiarity that it is written partly in Hebrew (like the rest of the O.T.), and partly in
Aramaic. The Hebrew portions are Dan. 1: - 2: 4, and Dan. 8:-12:, the Aramaic
portions being Dan. 2: 4 - 7:
The words: "Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack" are not a strict
translation of the passage. The literal rendering is: "Then spake the Chaldeans--
Aramith--O king, live for ever", the word Aramith indicating that from thence the
language ceases to be Hebrew and becomes Aramaic. Now Aramaic was the language of
mart and chancellory throughout the known world at the time Daniel was in Babylon; its
fitness as a vehicle of inspiration for this portion of the book will be better appreciated
when we have seen the strong Gentile character of Dan. 2:-7: At the moment,
however, we are thinking more of the evidence, which this language constitutes, of the
historic accuracy of Daniel, than of its bearing upon the subject of the book.
Daniel must have been written in a period when both Hebrew and Aramaic were
understood by the people. In the days of Hezekiah Israel, as a people, did not understand
"Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language (Aramaic); for we
understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are
on the wall" (II Kings 18: 26).
Here, Hebrew was known by the common people, but Aramaic was unknown. When
Ezra read the law of Moses publicly, after the return from captivity, we learn that, "they
read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to
understand the reading" (Neh. 8: 8). The Talmud explains that Ezra, after reading the
passage in Hebrew, translated it into Aramaic, thus making what became known as the
The book of Daniel, therefore, must have been written at a time after Hezekiah, and
before Hebrew ceased to be spoken among Israel, and this simple evidence of language
forces us to place the period of Daniel's prophecy exactly where orthodox teaching
places it, namely, during the period of the Babylonian captivity and onward.
But after all is said there remains for the believer a higher Authority than the
testimony of the monuments or the deductions of men. Daniel's prophecy finds its goal
in the kingdom of Christ, and, moreover, its strongest proof in the testimony of Christ